It’s not uncommon for cold weather to bring ice with it to North Texas, and that doesn’t only cause problems for traffic. It’s also possible for the water in your pipes to freeze, creating serious issues if not handled quickly.
You may be asking yourself, “Won’t frozen pipes thaw on their own?” Eventually, of course, they will, but sometimes the damage is done before that point. Here are a couple easy ways to get your water back to a liquid state—and why it matters.
Should You Try to Thaw Frozen Pipes?
In Texas, you can let frozen pipes thaw on their own, but the longer they stay frozen, the higher their chances of bursting, which creates issues for your home, furniture, and other belongings and costs money on repairs. So act quickly to thaw your pipes!
If your pipe has started leaking already, shut down your water and call a plumber immediately. Allowing it to go on could cause damage to your home.
How to Find a Frozen Pipe
You can test for frozen pipes by turning on each faucet one at a time. If nothing comes out or very little squeezes by after a frigid night, it’s a good bet the water inside the pipe has turned to ice. Usually, the frozen pipe is located closest to the faucet that isn’t working.
5 Ways to Thaw Frozen Pipes
1. Turn on the Faucets
Opening the faucets before cold weather hits can prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place, but it can also help unfreeze them. It works by relieving pressure on the plumbing and allowing warmer air to enter the system. Once the ice starts melting, the flowing movement will help melt the remaining ice.
2. Open the Cabinets
If your frozen pipe is located under the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or elsewhere in the house, open the cabinet that houses it. The heat from your home will help warm up the pipes. Just be sure to first remove any dangerous items from under the sink if you have kids or pets.
This is also a great way to keep your pipes from freezing!
3. Wrap Your Pipes in Towels
While not possible for hard-to-reach pipes or pipes within walls, towels soaked with hot water can be the perfect thawing solution for many others. Simply wrap the towels around your plumbing, starting with the faucet area first and moving away.
4. Use a Dryer or Portable Space Heater
Directing hair dryers and portable space heaters at frozen pipes can be a great technique for thawing, but use them with care. You may be using them near a leak or burst pipe, so supervise the process at all times in order to prevent a fire and puddling around the cords or unit.
5. Electrical Heating Tape
If you have it on hand, wrap your plumbing in electrical heating tape. You can plug it in and unplug it as you need it, and it distributes heat evenly along the pipe. Although it can be slightly expensive, it works quickly and effectively.
Don’t Do This When Thawing Your Pipes!
Do a quick Internet search, and you’ll come up with several bad suggestions for thawing your pipes. Here’s what you should avoid:
Don’t Use Dryers and Portable Space Heaters If They’re Unsupervised
Never leave the home with a dryer, portable space heater, or electric heating pad running on its own. While they can be wonderful resources for this job, they can start a fire if left unattended. If you have to go out or can’t keep a watchful eye, use other solutions instead.
Avoid Open Flame
Blowtorches, propane torches, and similar items should never be used on a frozen pipe for three reasons:
- It could cause a fire.
- It will damage your plumbing.
- It simply won’t work.
Don’t Let Your Pipes Thaw Without Help
Never ignore a frozen pipe. All ice thaws eventually, but you don’t want to see the damage it can cause before water flows freely again. It’s best to take steps now to prevent it from getting worse.
What If the Pipe Bursts Anyway?
Despite your best efforts at thawing, you might have a pipe burst anyway. Or you may have discovered a frozen pipe too late, and it already sprung a leak. If you run into either of these issues, act fast to minimize damage.
Step 1: Turn off the main water valve.
Step 2: Call an emergency plumber.
Step 3: Move all your belongings out of the way, away from the water.
Step 4: Start drying the area with mops and other cleaning items. You may need to use a wet/dry vacuum.
Step 5: Use a dehumidifier to reduce the risk of mold.
If the damage is extensive, a water restoration company may be needed to help you remove water from your floors, walls, and cabinets.
If your pipes freeze this winter, act fast. Using any one of these methods could result in big savings when it comes to repairs. If you do find your plumbing has burst, reach out to a local emergency plumber right away for assistance. Day or night, for a burst pipe or other emergency plumbing problem, call C&W Plumbing at 972-395-2597.
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